Canning Rabbit

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    Hi all! I’m new to the forum, but have been lurking for a couple of weeks. I thought I might come out of lurk mode now that I have my pressure canner up and running. We raise rabbits, and I’m interested in learning to preserve the meat by canning it, instead of just freezing it. I’d really like to have more “convenience food” on hand, and am looking for “meal in a jar” ideas as well. I’m hoping that enough of you who raise rabbits also can, and will be willing to chime in. I’ve never pressure canned before, so I’m a little nervous.

    We butcher our rabbits in three parts. First, we remove the thighs and shoulders, and freeze those together for oven baking, frying, and lately, boiling until just done, letting it cool, and pulling the meat off the bone shredded for enchiladas, etc. Second, we remove as much meat as possible from the ribs and back, which results in about a pound of boneless meat per rabbit that we freeze by the pound for convenience. Third, we use the spine, ribs, and whatever meat is still clinging to the bone, for stock meat.

    I’d like my canned meat to be versatile. I imagine that I can put the boneless through the food processor and pressure can ground rabbit easily enough – it’s about a pound of ground beef per pint jar, yes? Should it be processed in the pressure canner as long as one would process chicken? I substitute rabbit for chicken in recipes all the time, but I want to make sure the rules apply for canning as well. I definitely want to preserve the stock, so I’m not taking up space in the fridge and under pressure to use it before it spoils. I guess my biggest question is how to do the thighs and shoulders. I’m also unsure about raw packing it versus hot packing it. I’m kind of thinking that boiling the thighs and shoulders until they aren’t quite done and shredding it off the bone might be the most efficient use of jar space, but I’m not sure how the meat would hold up to pressure canning. I’ve heard chicken can get mushy, though I do feel like rabbit has a more solid texture and definitely holds up better in soups, stews, and chilis. I suppose I could take a “meal in a jar” approach and process pint jars of bbq bunny sandwich meat..? Any ideas are appreciated, and advice from those who have successfully canned their rabbit would be most welcome!

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